I wanted to change the world. Help people.
So I ran for public office. I started out small.
My mom tried to discourage me. I pointed out her parents had been in politics. She said “I know, that’s why.” Telling perhaps, but I ran anyway. And I won. I was on my way.
In 2 years I was elected the Chairman of the County Board. Pretty heady stuff for a 30 year old. I began to take myself pretty seriously, too. Didn’t everyone know I was doing the public’s work?
I ran for higher office twice, lost twice. I guess maybe I wasn’t ready but you couldn’t tell me. The saving part of all of it for me was my constant – my family and friends who stayed with me, encouraged and consoled me.
Me? I couldn’t understand what went wrong.
I thought I was destined to change the world, to help others. So, I ran again…for the county board.
I won and continued for another 12 years. Did I help anyone? I don’t know, maybe.
About a year before my term would expire and knowing I would run again, a board member approached me and sought my support on an issue. I told him I would think about it and began to turn away. As I did, he reached out and placed his hand on my arm and suggested I go along or “they ” would run an opponent against me in my primary election. I stopped and told him to get his f****** hand off me or he’d find himself on the ground. Fortunately, another member came between us. I walked away seething.
What was happening?
I ran anyway and won my primary against “their” opponent and was unopposed in the general election. That turned out to be my last term as an elected official. I began to see however, this wasn’t how I thought changing the world would be like. The realization began to sink in that I hadn’t really made any difference. Instead, I discovered that it was me who had changed. And not for the better.
Coincidentally, during that last year in office, my daughter had a beautiful baby boy, Dominico.
My first grandson. And that blessed event did change my whole world!
Nico taught me what was truly important in life – in my life.
Taught me more than I had ever taught myself.
And that was the beginning. Or rather my new beginning. Things began again to fall into place.
At that time, I had also started playing bocce in a league. I had really enjoyed it.
Soon the idea hit, why not hold a bocce play day for charity? Great idea!
Well, what charity should we give to?
Why not start our own charity?
We can help kids and families in need.
And so we did.
And 9 years later, we’re still going strong.
I’m not sharing this to pat myself on the back. Not looking for any praise or applause. I didn’t do anything hundreds of others haven’t already done. And I didn’t do it by myself either. Many others worked and helped make the organization succeed.
I shared this because after foolishly thinking I could change the world as a politician I ended up by only changing myself.
And I wasn’t happy with the result.
So, why did I start a charity?
To help myself.
I learned the hard way that the only way to change the world for the better, is to change yourself.
For the better.
Check the vid link below.